INTERVIEW: The Hush Sound


Recently, our editor, Winnie Surya had the opportunity to talk to Greta Morgan from The Hush Sound to catch up on the group’s post-reunion activities.

When did you and the rest of the band realize you wanted to get back together?
During the hiatus, we still played Chicago every year because it was our hometown and it was easy for us to get together and perform. Every year, the show would be so fun that we would always wonder whether or not it was the time to start playing together again. But for a number of years, there were always other obstacles: everybody had a different project going on and Darren had been in school – he’s actually still in school and about to finish. So then, in the end of 2012, all of our schedules just sort of aligned: everybody kind of had free time. And so, we figured it would be a good time to test it out. We’ve just done one step at a time, you know, like: “Let’s play a show!”; if it’s fun: “Let’s put four shows!”; if those are fun: “Let’s try to record one song!”; if that’s fun : “Let’s try do three!”…So, it’s kind of very step-by-step.

How has it been like switching from The Hush Sound to Gold Motel and back to The Hush Sound?
I think the Gold Motel stuff was just nearing the end of its cycle anyway. Everybody’s schedule from The Hush Sound just naturally synchronized.

So you’re not going to write any more music for Gold Motel anymore?
I don’t see it in the immediate future; I kind of see it as a two-album-collaboration with some of my other favourite Chicago friends.

How has the hiatus affected your music?
It took the hiatus for us to learn how to really appreciate each other and to learn how to work together. For some reason before, we were always sort of “babbling” about everything creatively. Now that we’ve come back after so much time away, I think we see each other with new eyes. It’s a much more collaborative process now.

How would you describe the band’s sound and lyrical development?
I would say that all in all, it’s more spontaneous than anything we’ve done before; it’s just more immediate. Also, we used to spend months torturing ourselves over a number of songs. With these [new] songs, we just went into a room, played them three times all together, picked the best out of the three takes and that’s what we released. So, I think we’re just going to be quicker, more spontaneous and have more life in it.

Are you guys working on a new album?
I don’t know. We keep talking about it, but I think we would prefer to just put out EPs. We would prefer to put out three songs every season, instead of an album every year. But, I think that our fans are still very traditional, in a sense that they want an album. So, we’re kind of discussing that now. We’re actually recording some songs next weekend.

Which artist(s)/band(s) influence your music?
Collectively, I would say that there’s a lot of older pop music: The Zombies, The Beatles, The Beach Boys… Individually, we each have really weird tastes, but those are the ones we lean on for this band.

Why did you name your latest EP “Forty Five”?
We’re all from Chicago and arguably, the biggest sports team in Chicago is the Bulls, the basketball team. Our favourite player is Michael Jordan and when he was originally on the Bulls, he was number “23”. Then, he took a long retirement and returned to the NBA as number “45”. So, we called our EP Forty Five to kind of tease that it was, in some sense, a “comeback”. It also has a double meaning because vinyl records play at 45 rotations per minute and they call it a “forty five”. So, we figured it made sense for both of those ways.

Which one of your past albums is the most significant to you? Why?
I don’t know. I have songs on each of them that I have a connection to. But as a whole, you make an album and you leave it behind you. I never listen to our records just like probably how your favourite authors don’t read their own books – maybe once every ten years or something like that! There are certain songs that I always feel good about playing, like “Hurricane”, “Sweet Tangerine” and “You Are the Moon”.

What’s in store for you guys after this tour?
Well, Darren’s in college. So, he’s going to be finishing the fall semester or the spring semester. Basically, we’ll be playing some long-weekend tours and then we’re just going to be writing and recording. We’ll be recording in batches: so we’re doing a batch next weekend with probably two or three songs, we’ll probably do another batch later on. Then, we’ll figure out whether or not we want to release that as an album next year or whether we just want to release them as EPs.

This isn’t your first time in Toronto, so what’s your favourite thing to do when you’re in town?
The last time I was here, I was playing in a venue that wasn’t typically a rock and roll venue called “The Tattoo Parlour”. It felt like a dance club: they had velvet pillows, caged bars and all sorts of stuff. I don’t know what part of town that was, but that part of town was awesome! I had some of the best coffee of my life! There was also this whole row of mid-century-modern furniture stores and art galleries – I wish I remembered what part of town that is!

Compare the crowds in the States vs. the ones in your hometown shows?
Our hometown shows in Chicago just have the best and warmest love in the room – it’s just crazy! We’re from Chicago, so we started playing there a year and a half or two before we started touring. Some of these people have been coming to see us play for almost ten years – it’s crazy! Seeing some of the same faces as people who were at our basement shows (like when we started out), it’s such a cool feeling to be able to check in with those people. But, there are certain cities that are really close to that feeling. Whenever we play Philadelphia, Los Angeles, New York and Austin, those towns always have the warmest and most wonderful energy in the room. Tonight’s going to be good too!

What would you be doing if the band hadn’t reunited?
When I’m not on tour, I work: I teach music lessons and I write with other people. If I was in no band, I’d probably go to school. But otherwise, I still have a pretty normal life when I’m not on tour.

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